Zoom makes U-turn on end-to-end encryption
If you have followed the history of Zoom, it has a wild ride of ups and downs. After the initial hype of the video platform, more and more security holes came to light. The company announced security and privacy improvements. Now, it’s the turn of end-to-end encryption and some users will be especially pleased.
It’s like that with most things in life: only those who pay get the appropriate extras. For smartphones, this may be an additional camera lens, for apps an ad-free version. For Zoom, only paying users had a right to privacy. This is to change.
Zoom end-to-end encryption: how much does our privacy cost?
If you want to use Zoom, you have the choice between a free account or a subscription. The paid version includes basic features and additional services, such as meetings longer than 40 minutes. According to the Zoom price list (as of June 2020), however, this will cost you a monthly fee.
What was not an option until now – neither for free users nor for paying customers – was end-to-end encryption. A security hole, considering that not only the participants of a video chat but anybody else can access the call data. At the beginning of June, it was confirmed that the encryption for Zoom will come, but only for paying users.
“Free users, for sure, we don’t want to give that [end-to-end encryption]. Because we also want to work it together with FBI and local law enforcement, in case some people use Zoom for bad purpose,” Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom told TheNextWeb.
Privacy for all: Zoom has had a change of heart
From this point of view, Zoom is now making a U-turn. The company tweeted yesterday that end-to-end encryption is available to every user. Regardless of whether they use the video platform for free or have bought a subscription.
End-to-end encryption update from Zoom – we have found a path forward to provide this feature to all users (free and paid) around the globe >> https://t.co/rjwCLYKDuJ⁰ <<
— Zoom (@zoom_us)
June 17, 2020
However, one difference still exists. The encryption is immediately available to paying customers without them having to do anything for it. The situation is different for free users, who have to pass an identity check (once) before they can use the encryption. As an example, Zoom states a “verification of a phone number” for the identity check. Whether it will stay that way or whether Zoom will come up with other possibilities is not known yet.
End-to-end encryption is scheduled to enter the beta phase in July. But when every user will really be able to access the encryption is still unknown.